Buying a new Air Conditioner? Buy wisely!


Every year, thousands of Canadian homeowners purchase new HVAC appliances, including Furnaces, Water Heaters, Air Conditioners and others. But how many of them also end up making the right purchases as they purchase? Not so many. And that is because homeowners do not pay enough attention to the pros and cons of an appliance, it's price and how both of these factors will contribute to affecting the efficiency and longevity of it. Also, the attractive commercials and advertisements leave no room for critically analysing the advertised appliances. As a result, homeowners buy what they are forced to buy. This enforcement could be in the form of a sticky retailer, a constant ad popping up on social media or TV or a friend or family having a good experience with a particular appliance.

As HVAC specialist, we think that every single home has its own peculiar requirements and every single homeowner his own peculiar needs. What works best for so many out there may not work the same way for you so it is important to critically analyse the appliance and compare its pros and cons with your needs and wants. We are writing this post to help homeowners make wise choices as they purchase Air Conditioner units for their homes.

How to make wise Air Conditioner purchase

Picking the right SEER. Not more not less

So if somebody tells you the higher the SEER the better the savings, you need to read between the lines. High SEER does not always mean savings and high seer does not mean it's perfect for you. Depending on the climate, the usage of the unit and some other factors, seer suitability varies from home to home. For mild climates, a 14 SEER Air Conditioner goes fine while for hotter climates, a unit of 16 SEER would be suitable in all cases. If you choose to go any higher and can afford to go higher, make sure the investment is worth making by doing some rough calculations. So the first most important point is to not fall for ''Buy high SEER Air Conditioner and it will pay for itself'' kind of advertisement lines. An honest HVAC professional can help you decide what SEER unit would work best for your home. And if you don't find one such honest man, consider relying on the online calculators that help calculate whether or not a particular SEER would help save in long run and how much savings can be expected.

Sizing will affect the comfort

As we always say, it is important to purchase the right size of Air Conditioner. Size defines cooling power. So a 1 ton AC will have less cooling power than a 2 ton AC but this depends on the area to be cooled. For a small area, 1 ton will be better while for larger areas, 2 ton will suffice better. Remember that it is not only purchasing a small size unit for a large area that will affect the comfort but also purchasing a large unit for a small area that will cause discomfort. The AC, in this case, will frequently trip and will not be able to comfortably cool the indoor. Also, high energy bills are a clear consequence.
So as you plan to purchase a new unit, consider your location, your home's area, your home's insulation, your already installed unit and then decide the size.
If you have a hard time deciding the right size, we always recommend talking to professionals for better and more reliable advice.

Contractors matter!

Even if you choose the very best unit, not choosing the right retailer and the right installer will still keep you in a loss. So make a thorough research about the retailers in your vicinity. Take help from Google and the reviews will help you reach the right people. Don't take this advice lightly. It's almost equal if not more than the price of your Air Conditioner. 

Some additional tips to consider

- Taking bids from multiple contractors will help you reach the right and affordable one
- Make sure you know what exactly is included in your package
- This one is important; Do not hire someone to install your system just because he is charging less. He may be charging less because he is not a professional. Better choose professionals for a higher price than choosing an unprofessional for a lower price.

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Here's how you can accidentally void your Air Conditioner warranty

What if you purchase a brand new Air Conditioner and have to get it repaired just after a few months that too with an expense of several hundred dollars? Where did the warranty go? Why did you have to pay for the repairs when the company gave a warranty of 10 years? Well, it happened because you accidentally voided your warranty. You might wonder if you have never been to such a situation, how can someone void his own warranty? Well, this happens accidentally as part of lack of knowledge about warranties and also because these accidents can so frequently take place as the brand wants you to make those accidents (mean, right?) so that you pay yourself. And for this reason, the voiding of warranty thing is kept quite easy. So before you void your warranty, let's help you learn how not to end up voiding it.

Forgetting to register the system 


Hey! Didn't you know this? Well, so many people don't that it's important to get a system registered with the company once it is purchased or else the warranty will stand void. And this is not all; the time for registration is limited; usually 60-90 days.
If you have recently purchased an Air Conditioner but didn't get your system registered, run!
A good way to save yourself from this mistake is to look for a retailer that performs the registration on your behalf. There are several good HVAC services that fill the registration form on their customer's behalf as he makes a purchase. So your warranty doesn't get voided.

Cheap, Off-brand replacement parts


And here's one thing that many homeowners fall into. Off-brand replacement parts. Usually, the unprofessional services repair the appliances using off-brand parts and for your information, this voids warranty as well. Since the manufacturer wants you to use only its own manufactured replacement parts, it doesn't take any responsibility of your appliance if you have already repaired it using non/off-brand parts. 
Here you need to do two things;
- Always purchase the same repair parts as is your appliance's brand
- Do not hire unprofessional people who would put you and your appliance at a double risk and loss

Delaying regular maintenance 


There are several homeowners that delay HVAC maintenance just to save some dollars. But did you know, it is important to keep the appliances maintained in order to keep the warranty valid? HVAC manufacturers want the homeowners to maintain their appliances at least once a year and also to keep a record of the maintenance visits of a certified HVAC professional. So if you complain the company and don't have maintenance record, there are high chances you won't be given any compensation.
So from now onwards, make a routine of having all your HVAC appliances maintained by a certified professional.

There is one quick thing to mention; when we say maintenance, we do seriously mean professional maintenance. And since you're reading about the things that void the warranty, you also need to learn that any unprofessional repair also results in voiding the HVAC warranty.
Save your warranties - save your dollars
 

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HVAC training centre initiative by York and Source1

How many of you have gone through bad HVAC experiences? Many of us. And most of the times, the bad experience takes place when we are in such a dire need to get our appliances maintained or repaired but end up in the hands of a self-claimed professional.
Although there are authorities that issue professional certifications to trained and tested HVAC professionals and although HVAC is a field that requires professional and technical knowledge that is certified, it is still not taken as seriously as it deserves to be. And therefore, there are a number of services that claim to be professionals but are not. The consequence of such unprofessionalism is borne by homeowners when they end up losing their money without getting the service quality they demanded.
The situation suggests a need for training centres that could train on easy terms to individuals and small companies that wish to take up HVAC services as their profession. This need was felt by HVAC giant York and Source1 and here's what they have come up with:


York and Source1 launch nationwide HVAC training centres 

York and source1 collaborated to initiate a series of HVAC training centres. The first of this series centre was inaugurated in Missouri, America at the beginning of this year. More centres will be opened in areas (in the US for now) where York and Source1 exist. This training centre will train neophyte technicians and HVAC interested individuals regarding basic and professional HVAC services. For this purpose, 8 york units are housed in the main centre to be used for the first-hand experience during training.

The good thing is; HVAC professionals have gotten an opportunity to become York's certified technicians by getting themselves trained at this newly started initiative of York and Source1.

Although the general training is for residential applications only, some custom programs do incorporate the commercial application of products and some other basic and pro know-how of commercial products and their service.

Expectations associated with York & Source1 HVAC training centre initiative?

Regional general manager for source 1 Doug Comerio explained the purpose of launching the centre by saying that the training will help contractors get a better understanding of installation and other services so that as they reach out to serve, they leave homeowners with better experiences.
The expectations are directly woven with the kind of purpose this training centre aims to pursue. Since the purpose is to make professional knowledge easily accessible to learn and provide homeowners with better experiences, we as common people can expect that this initiative will help provide us with more HVAC professionals and that we will be less likely to experience the bad HVAC experiences that we always fear to face.

Who can enrol for training? 

If you are already an HVAC technician but lack professional skills & certification or if you wish to pursue HVAC as your profession, this training centre is for you. As mentioned, the first of its chain centre is currently functional in Missouri, you can go and enrol if that happens to be an area in your vicinity. Else, wait for more centres and hey! serve only when you're certified. HVAC is a professional's to do.

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Here's how home insulation benefits you in summers

Have you always thought of home insulation as a winter only thing? You have been wrong. Did you know that home insulation benefits as equally in summers as it does in winters? In winters, it keeps the heat inside and the heat loss is reduced. In summers, the insulation keeps the outside heat from entering the home keeping the indoor cool. The general benefits of home insulation are;

Benefits of home insulation in summers

- Since the home remains cooler than usual, the HVAC appliances don't have to work hard
- Home Insulation is a one-time investment for several years that help reduce energy bills as the heating/cooling appliances don't run constantly
- Insulation works as a noise proof solution
- In addition to all that, home insulation keeps the IAQ level healthy by not allowing outer pollutants in and also not circulating the air constantly in the indoors. The air, therefore, remains relatively fresh and healthy.

Above were the general benefits of home insulation. We also need to learn how exactly home insulation helps keep the indoor cool in summers and what are the major heat causing areas of the home. Read on:

In summers, the roof is the major place from where the heat of the sun gets absorbed. This heat makes the indoor warm as a result of conduction. The second major place is the walls. As the attic is insulated, the heat that enters the home from the roof can be barred entrance. Similarly, insulation of walls can stop the heat to enter the home from sides of the home. Usually, attic and walls are insulated but there are some people that prefer floor, duct or ceiling insulation depending on the peculiar needs. This way the home's indoor cooling doesn't get lost easily and the outdoor heat doesn't get a chance to peak in the home as easily as it usually does.

Make the most of home insulation 

Insulation is beneficial but so is ventilation. Air circulation is important else the indoor air will turn dry, stale and unhealthy. Therefore, open doors and windows in the early morning or at night to let fresh and cool air inside.
Also, placing a water reservoir under the fan with help circulate air while also cool the indoor. 

Does my home need Insulation? 

There are many Canadian homes that are not insulated at all and many others that are not insulated properly. A failing/old insulation results in;
- High energy bills
- Discomforted home
- Quick cooling/heating loss
If your home shows any of these signs, check when did you have your home insulated. Analyze if the insulation is old enough to have a refill or call a professional to get some insight regarding this.

What insulation type will best suit my home? 

There are different types of home insulation and different materials are used. Every home has different needs. Only an attic insulation can suffice for your home or you may need to insulate your walls and floor as well. Similarly, when it comes to the material of insulation, no random choices should be made. Different materials have different insulation capacity, they differ in cost plus, there are certain materials that some people are allergic to. Therefore, it is wise to contact an HVAC professional when planning home insulation to make the right type and material choices.

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Knowing and Fixing HVAC AirFlow Problems

An improper airflow can put you and your home in a complete discomfort. Interestingly, many homeowners face this problem but they never recognise it and even when they do, they don't have the necessary knowledge on how to fix the airflow problems. The reasons for improper air flow could be:
- Improper installation of HVAC appliances
- Blocked vents
- Clogged filters
Airflow problem, be it little or severe, can affect the comfort level and when fixed, you can enjoy a reduction in energy bills, increase in indoor comfort level and safety from any potential accidents.


Signs to detect poor airflow
So how, you, as a common homeowner, can detect poor airflow? There are some signs that can help detect that;
- Hot and cold spots in the home
- Draughty areas in the home
- Pressure problems
- Over time required in reaching the desired temperature
- Unusual sounds from the ductwork (usually of whistling)
 
Now let us discuss in detail the causes of poor airflow in detail.

Possible causes of poor air flow

Faulty Installation
We always recommend homeowners to go for professional installation particularly when it is about the costly HVAC appliances like Furnace, Air Conditioners etc. Energy Star claims that around half of the new HVAC units are installed by unprofessional people either homeowners themselves or uncertified techs. The wrong installation means high energy bills, compromised comfort, HVAC noises and what we are currently discussing; improper airflow. If you're about to install a system, choose professionals. If you're already done with the mistake of choosing the unprofessionals, don't repeat or drag the mistake further and call a certified HVAC tech to fix the loopholes in the installation.

Air Duct Leaks
Many homeowners never figure out that they are using a leaking air duct. The big leaks are though observable and suspectable, it is often times hard to find the minute leaks. The smaller the leak, the higher the velocity of the leaking air would be. And did you know that you could be losing 20% of the heat because of leaks and cracks in the ductwork? In order to check the leaks, take a toilet tissue, a piece of paper or a lit candle and move around the portions of ductwork where you suspect a leak. If the candle flickers or the paper/tissue suddenly start moving, there's a leak.

Know that you can always fix the small leaks using duct tape, or any other good adhesive tape. But for the big leaks, you may end up damaging the ductwork when doing a DIY. So better go for professional duct repair when it's a bigger damage.

Blocked Vents/Registers
Remember that an air duct is not just a pipe that brings you conditioned air. There are a lot of things that matter to make sure you reach a good comfort level. Every home has special needs and the ductwork is installed accordingly. The size of duct matters, the registers and vent style matters, the size of vents matter etc. So as the vents and registers get blocked for whatever reason, the entire system gets affected and thus the airflow is affected too. Be sure to not do any messing with the vents and registers like many people shut off the supply vents in unused rooms but this very practice itself adversely affects the system. Consult your HVAC tech before making any changes in the current duct and supply design.
Here's what can be done regarding blocked vents/registers:
- If your supply or return vents are hidden behind furniture, carpet or any other such thing, clear them of these hindrances

- Clean the registers and vents thoroughly using a soft brush to remove dirt and clogs

- When you're using a central heating/cooling system, it is always suggested to keep the interior door open to make a smooth airflow possible 

Dirty Filters
And this one goes without saying. Dirty Filters are the most common reason for the improper air flow. The dirt clogs the way and lets only partial air go through the filter. Clean your filters regularly to avoid the discomfort of improper air flow.

Dirty/inefficient/old HVAC components
While most of the times, the reason of improper air flow is one of those mentioned above, sometimes, it could be the dirty, inefficient or ageing component of the HVAC system that is the cause. You'd need to call an HVAC professional for diagnosis.

Let us remind you once again that improper airflow is a common problem that homeowners face. And it has the potential to bring discomfort to you if not fixed in time. You could be giving high energy bills, enjoying less comfort and decreasing your HVAC system lifespan if you're living with compromised airflow. So, fix it!



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Foul smells coming from HVAC vents – What are the causes?


Your HVAC system is responsible for providing you with cool/warm/fresh/humidified air and also to keep your indoor temperature comfortable. But it won’t ensure an odourless supply of air until and unless you’ve an odour air cleaner installed in the way. One reason for HVAC odour that you might already be familiar with is; dust and debris in the ductwork or the appliances. But there are many other stingy, stale odours that you may never have recognized correctly but have always worried about. If you’re feeling a strange odour in your home and nothing has worked out to evacuate it, this blog could be having some useful insights for you. Also, note that not all odours are harmful but there are some that really are. So, never remain headless towards whatever kind of unusual odour your HVAC system produces.


Smell#1: Burning or smoking odour


This type of odour coming from the HVAC system needs to be taken very seriously as this is often the sign of electrical or mechanical problems. Your motor could be over-heated, the mobile parts could be getting overburdened and may be ready to produce some kind of fire etc. So before it happens, do this; 

* Quickly shut off your system and the Thermostat
* Inspect and smell the indoor and outdoor units
* If the smell is coming from them, don’t turn the system ON again unless you have it inspected by an HVAC professional



Smell#2: A smoke like Odor


This kind of smell may not really smell like smoke but yet smells kind of smoky. The reason behind this type is the practice of smoking in the indoor. As someone smokes, the HVAC system circulates the very same smoky air. And this smoke gets penetrated into the walls of the duct work, in the coils and HVAC units. People living in such a home don’t really feel this odour as they are used to it. But someone who buys a smoke infiltrated home certainly notices it and may find it very irritating.

You’d again need to call a professional to get rid of this odour. They have special chemicals to remove HVAC system odours professionally and properly.


Smell#3: Musty & Damp Odor


The damp odour comes from the production of mould and mildew. And the bad news is; they will not only stay in the ductwork, instead, will spread all over into your home. This happens as a result of undrained tubes, leaking ductwork or improper insulation. So before you call on a professional or perform a DIY cleaning, make sure to fix these causes first.

Perform the clean up as early as possible when such an odour is suspected since it may turn out to be a health hazard. And the mould and mildew affected air, when circulates in the entire home can put your beautiful home at the deadly risk of becoming ugly.

Smell#4: First blow of season odour


This is the odour that almost every homeowner experiences. In the beginning of the season, as you turn your Air Conditioner or Furnace ON, the dust that these units have accumulated over time, gets a push towards your home. As a result, a dusty and stale air fills the home. Don’t worry! This is normal. Open your windows and doors to let this first season blow exit the home.

But hey wait! This does not happen more than a few times after restarting of the units. So if you constantly smell such an odour, it could be a possible symptom of a dirty or a leaking ductwork. A professional again!


Did you find this blog useful? Are there any other kinds of HVAC odors that you are tired of? And, do you have any DIY solutions to treat them? Share with us!

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Getting to know different types of Ductworks

If you are building or renovating a home and like central heating/cooling system over the ductless heating/cooling system, an important decision for you to make would be that of ductwork installation since, without a ductwork, the central cooling/heating system would not be possible. It is not only about choosing the right technician that matters in this case, it is also about making the right choice for the type of ductwork that you would install. There are different materials that are being used for ductwork installation, each with its own pros and cons and each with its own varying effectivity in varying circumstances. You need to learn about what variety is available to choose from in order to choose the most compatible material for your ductwork installation. The one which is also affordable and durable.



Stainless Steel Ducts

This types of ducts are what most homes have; made up of stainless steel pipes that are rectangular and rounded. These differently shaped ducts are fitted together and sealed tightly at the joints in order to make them fully airtight. Some people prefer to add a layer of foam or asbestos in or around the stainless steel duct in order to insulate it. The benefit of stainless steel duct is its longevity, however, the drawback is the initial cost that is required to install it. If you are low on budget, you would have to switch to another medium.


Non-metallic Ducts

In contrast to the metallic ducts, flexible non-metallic ducts are also prevalent due to the convincing feature of being able to accommodate in places of twist and turns or in small spaces. They are non-metallic and flexible as the name suggests. Made up of plastic or any other non-metallic material, these duct pipes are made up in a spring-like form and due to the non-metallic characteristic, they do not face corrosion that the metal ducts do over time. Plastic, with which these non-metallic ducts are usually made, are better at insulation than metals.

Fibreglass Ductboards

Compressed fibreglass is used in this type of ducts. The outer layer of Fibreglass duct boards is made up of foil that resists moisture while also serve as an air barrier. Like the outside, the inside of these ducts is also lined in order to prevent the fibreglass fragments to loose and enter your home. Fibreglass duct boards are among the most economical ductwork installation material. They are also sound proof.

The right installer matters!

Now that you have come to know of a brief introduction of the different materials available for ductwork installation, here's one thing that we want to remind you. And that is the importance of choosing the right installer. While many people underestimate professionalism, the truth is, a professional's well-performed job can save you money in the long run while a non-professional 's performed job will cost you money frequently. With special reference to the ductwork, keep in mind that the efficiency of your HVAC appliances is directly as well as indirect dependant on your ductwork. An improper installation will put your entire system at risk while your energy bills will also raise. So before you think that you are done with the best material choice for duct installation, wait a minute and think, ''Am I also done with the best installer choice''?

For ductwork installation or other HVAC queries, call 1-855-245-4328

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